Keep to the right, please!

Not that I want to see serried ranks of humanoid bots, but… (actually, that’s not a bad idea)

We city walkers are speedy, as the Times tells us, but why does no one keep to the right on the sidewalk these days?  Subway platforms and pavements and stairways are more crowded than ever, but we pedestrians and stair-climbers (and -descenders) would all be better off if we kept – for the most part – to the right.  I am not talking about politics, mind you.   The prevalence of sidewalk bridges and scaffolding exacerbates the problem.  Such distractions as store windows, vendors, interesting sights and sites to check out, intersections to cross, and dog-poop to avoid (don’t get me on a sidetrack), frequently call for a move to the left, and might, on occasion, be excused.

I’ve made a casual study of the predicament, and I trace it, like so many problems of today, to bad schooling at home and away from home.  Can you imagine such a thing – difficult, isn’t it?  Most of the little ones in our crowded schools – and even the bigger kids – are no longer instructed to keep to the right in hallways, on stairs, or outdoors, not even during fire drills!  I often plow through the crowds on the pavements of my neighborhood shouting “Keep to the right, keep to the right”, and of course people pay no attention; who would want to give the impression she pays heed to street-loonies?  My first grade teacher is probably whirling in her grave, as is YOURS!

But seriously: even the London Underground, a paragon system, has well-placed signs on the long, steep escalators at some stations requesting that riders keep to the RIGHT (not LEFT).  I would love to see sparkly new city-posted signs reading PLEASE KEEP TO THE RIGHT along the busiest sidewalks of New York City.  They’d be a sight for the sore eyes of this city walker, and probably for a few hundred thousand of her fellow pedestrians.

This entry was posted in Nit-picking, Yanks vs. Brits on by .

About Alison

FDR & Hitler were still alive when I was born, but just barely. Raised to be a snob, especially about words -- how they're used and pronounced and spelled. Retired from office work but not from Glossophilia. Travel quite a bit, often revisiting sites I already like (cf. re-reading favorite books). I listen to opera and other classical music, AKA 'good' music, and go to concerts & operas in NYC and on my travels. I take a lot of photographs. I am very close to a younger sister who lives nearby and have an elderly dachshund. I am nowhere nearly as snobbish about red wines as about words, writing, speaking and behavior, but then I know a lot less about red wines.

One thought on “Keep to the right, please!

  1. Matthew Rye

    Despite the London escalator ‘keep right’ signs (this is more to keep the left-hand side clear to allow people to walk up or down – a habit that seems exclusive to the Underground if you’ve ever tried it anywhere else), there’s never to my knowledge been any consensus in the UK for dividing pedestrians into streams, desirable as that might be. I know of a single pavement (sidewalk) in Birmingham where there’s a painted line and (this being the UK) ‘keep left’ signs, on the ramp up to New Street shopping centre. And similar oneway systems supposedly operate through the labyrinthine pedestrian tunnels of the Underground.

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